If I were Mr Oberoi, I might just be worried. First, entrepreneur Navneet Kalra and his young partner, Randeep Bajaj, got Threesixty Degree restaurant’s old sushi chef, Augusto Cabrero, to come and start rolling makis at Townhall, the trendiest restaurant in Khan Market. Now, the dynamic duo has got the dimsum chef from Taipan at the Oberoi, to dish out dumplings at Mr Choy, the tony central Delhi market’s new eatery.
The dim sum bar is tucked into the corner of the middle lane, where The Kitchen (of Khao Suey fame) used to be. We showed up on the very first day of business and found the place already packed, with potential diners standing outside, and patiently waiting for a table.
It’s a small but good-looking restaurant with cheery blue walls, cages doing double duty as lights, and a giant mural of what could be Mr Choy’s consort, keeping a watch on the restaurant, over her pink sunglasses (fitting, since Kalra’s other line of business is eyewear). The ambience is pleasant, but what really commands attention is the food. There are eight kinds of vegetarian dim sums and 13 (definitely not an unlucky number here) non-veg ones. For those who can’t be bothered choosing, Mr Choy proposes the beaten metal tiffin boxes that carry an assortment of dim sums. There are also bento boxes and small plates on offer, bearing items like Peking Duck Rolls, Butterfly Crumb Prawn and Bekti with Black Bean Sauce.
We were a (greedy) group of four, and ordered almost everything. Each plate was cleaned out within minutes of being put on the table. The Hargow Prawn and Cha Siu Bao (aka Pork Bao) were declared the winners of the evening. Surprisingly, as the group normally turns green at the sight of vegetables, the thinly sliced beancurd with braised veggies managed to get a thumbs up. The absence of a liquor
licence (which, we are informed, is not going to change) ensured that the bill stayed at under a grand a head, which, let’s face it, passes for quite inexpensive these days.
The fortune cookie at the end wished me many happy returns. Obediently, I went back to Mr Choy the next day. Perhaps you’d like a dekko too?